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Supermarine Spitfire


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#1 Gary Davies

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Posted 04 March 2006 - 01:40

May I veer off into aviation for a moment? March 5th is the 70th anniversary of the first flight of Reginald Mitchell's marvellous Spitfire, at Eastleigh near Southampton with Mutt Summers at the controls.

Here's a pic, which must have been at least near the day, linked from www.aeroflight.co.uk/

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#2 Ralf Pickel

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Posted 04 March 2006 - 05:53

Look at this for some Spitfire flying - it was displayed by the late Ray Hanna :

http://www.alexispar...m/oh_my_god.htm

:up: :up: :clap: :clap:

#3 Ruairidh

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Posted 04 March 2006 - 06:20

Originally posted by Ralf Pickel
Look at this for some Spitfire flying - it was displayed by the late Ray Hanna :

http://www.alexispar...m/oh_my_god.htm

:up: :up: :clap: :clap:


Thanks Ralf, I hadn't seen that before. Sad that Ray Hanna just died, a nice memory of a superlative skill honed in flying a Meteor for years at below 100 feet, IIRC. :clap:

#4 Eric McLoughlin

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Posted 04 March 2006 - 08:33

100 ft would have been considered "High Altitude Flying" for Ray Hanna.

There was a very good discussion about him on BBC Radio 4 yesterday afternoon. The programme was "Last Word" and is available on their "Listen Again" facility - but only for a week.

In the course of the programme, a fellow Red Arrows pilot remarked that Hanna once flew alongside him at a lower altitude. The thing was, the pilot recounting the tale hadn't taken off yet! If you realise how small the Gnat was and how short its undercarriage, you would realise that Hanna must have neem flying at an altitude of about 12 inches. Hanna had to "climb" to clear the airfield boundary fence - which was 2 1/2 feet high.

On that Spitfire photo, on the day the prototype first flew (still called the Supermarine 300 at the time), it was still in an unpainted, natural finish. A few weeks later it was repainted all pale blue as seen above.

There was a very good history of the prototype (K5054) in last month's Aeroplane Monthly magazine.

#5 RTH

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Posted 04 March 2006 - 09:00

Can I point you towards a television programme on the whole subject :-

Tomorrow afternoon that's Sunday the 6th at 4.30pm on BBC News 24 Channel on freeview , cable, satellite etc.

#6 f1steveuk

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Posted 04 March 2006 - 15:19

I did nearly a whole chapter on the S6 and S6B powered by the Rolls-Royce R type. While researching this I was let loose through some of the Supermarine archive. Something I heard, which I would love someone to substatiate is this; it is impossible to build a flying scale model of a Spitfire. This is because the full size aircraft is the smallest it can be, given that the wing size is the minimum to create the required lift etc. There fore any scale model will be wrong, because the wings will have to be oversized. I sort of doubt this as K5054 was smaller than the production craft, but it's an interesting idea. Anyone know?

#7 Eric McLoughlin

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Posted 04 March 2006 - 17:38

I didn't think K5054 was dimensionally any different to the production MkIs? In fact, the only changes made to the initial production Mk1s were - the fitting of a tailwheel instead of a skid, the removal of the wheel covers from the undercarriage and the replacement of the simple exhaust ports with proper, thrust creating, flared exhaust stacks. Later on, Mk1s were retro-fitted with three bladed fully automatic propellors and "blown" canopies. The production Spitfire also featured a different shaped rudder - but this change had also been made to K5054 after only a few flights.

The basic Spitfire shape did not change until the arrival of the MkIX. With the fitting of the longer Merlin 61, the nose had to be extended.

Later developments of the Spitfire were quite radically different - particularly those fitted with the Griffon.

#8 David Birchall

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Posted 04 March 2006 - 18:22

Originally posted by f1steveuk
I did nearly a whole chapter on the S6 and S6B powered by the Rolls-Royce R type. While researching this I was let loose through some of the Supermarine archive. Something I heard, which I would love someone to substatiate is this; it is impossible to build a flying scale model of a Spitfire. This is because the full size aircraft is the smallest it can be, given that the wing size is the minimum to create the required lift etc. There fore any scale model will be wrong, because the wings will have to be oversized. I sort of doubt this as K5054 was smaller than the production craft, but it's an interesting idea. Anyone know?


Hmmm, doesn't seem to make sense does it? If the weight of the aircraft is reduced the need for lift is reduced by a similiar amount surely?

The Folland Gnat mentioned earlier was a lovely aircraft. I have a photo over my head as I write of a closeup of a Gnat in a vertical dive "somewhere over England". It is signed by the pilot, Ted Tennant. My father worked on Gnats for years at Dunsfold airdrome (Where Top Gear do their track tests now) and he loved them.

#9 David Birchall

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Posted 04 March 2006 - 18:38

This was just emailed to me, thought y'all might enjoy itL:

Posted Image

#10 fvebr

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Posted 04 March 2006 - 20:38

As being (maybe a stronger) fan and nostalgic of those old aircrafts... I can hardly recommend, to those who have the chance, to watch an old French Tv report on That Legend...

It was made in the 80's by Bernard Chabbert and the serie was known as PEGASE... Scenery, Interviews, Shots and comments are just..... (no words)

:stoned: :stoned: :stoned: :stoned: (1h story of THE airplane)

I taped it... and Cd Recorded it... And kept it on 2 different computers... just to make sure to not loose that piece of art...

Regards.

#11 Ralf Pickel

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Posted 04 March 2006 - 22:28

Originally posted by Eric McLoughlin
100 ft would have been considered "High Altitude Flying" for Ray Hanna.



Fortunately, I was at the first Goodwood Revival, when Ray Hanna made the legendary pass along the start/finishing straight, early morning, flying with one wingtip only a few feet above ground. That really was an amazing sight to behold and a very fitting start to a legendary event.

#12 FrankB

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 07:39

There is going to be a celebratory flight at Duxford today...

"Sometime between 11:00 and 13:30 depending on the weather" http://www.voy.com/109515/1167.html

#13 FredF1

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 09:08

Raymond Baxter narrates the the Spitfire story on BBC4 tonight at 7.05 pm.

#14 Eric McLoughlin

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 09:52

I hope that this is the 1970s documentary which featured an interview with Bob-Stanford-Tuck and Douglas Bader.

There's also a programme on BBC News 24 at 4.30 pm.

(video tape at the ready).

#15 Gary Davies

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 10:36

Originally posted by FredF1
Raymond Baxter narrates the the Spitfire story on BBC4 tonight at 7.05 pm.


Phew! Thank heavens for podcasting! Thanks for the info.

#16 Roger Clark

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 11:24

Originally posted by Vanwall


Phew! Thank heavens for podcasting! Thanks for the info.

Sadly, podcasting doesn't yet work on television.

#17 Gary C

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 11:29

is it going to be repeated?? I'll still be at work at that point.

#18 Gary Davies

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 11:35

Originally posted by Roger Clark

Sadly, podcasting doesn't yet work on television.


: Yes, I stupidly assumed he meant Radio 4 ... and discovered the sad truth upon later visiting the BBC website. Ah well plenty of good stuff on Radio 4 as in radio!

#19 Vitesse2

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 11:44

Originally posted by Gary C
is it going to be repeated?? I'll still be at work at that point.

As it's on BBC4 I think that's pretty likely!

Originally posted by Roger Clark
Sadly, podcasting doesn't yet work on television.

I think our Australian-domiciled friend was assuming it was going out on the Home Service :p

(O/T: why does Auntie call radio networks numbered over 4 just "BBC whatever"? BBC 1, 2, 3 & 4 are all TV stations but BBC 5 (or is it 5 Live?), BBC 6 and BBC 7 are radio. Makes no sense when they also have Radios 1 to 4!)

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#20 Gary Davies

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 12:43

Originally posted by Vitesse2


(O/T: why does Auntie call radio networks numbered over 4 just "BBC whatever"? BBC 1, 2, 3 & 4 are all TV stations but BBC 5 (or is it 5 Live?), BBC 6 and BBC 7 are radio. Makes no sense when they also have Radios 1 to 4!)


Perhaps to keep the populations of the far flung corners of the Empire on their toes? :|

Alas, this one was flat footed after a weekend of tinkering with the old British sports car under the Antipodean sun. Mad dogs and .....

#21 Eric McLoughlin

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 20:08

The BBC 4 documentary was the programme originally broadcast in 1976 - as I suspected. Good, all the same, as the vast majority of the interviewees are sadly no longer with us.

#22 dolomite

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 01:31

Originally posted by f1steveuk
I did nearly a whole chapter on the S6 and S6B powered by the Rolls-Royce R type. While researching this I was let loose through some of the Supermarine archive. Something I heard, which I would love someone to substatiate is this; it is impossible to build a flying scale model of a Spitfire. This is because the full size aircraft is the smallest it can be, given that the wing size is the minimum to create the required lift etc. There fore any scale model will be wrong, because the wings will have to be oversized. I sort of doubt this as K5054 was smaller than the production craft, but it's an interesting idea. Anyone know?


Er, no, lots of R/C model Spitfires are flying around out there, and you can even build yourself a 3/4 scale flying replica if you've got enough dosh....

#23 Paolo

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 09:06

Originally posted by f1steveuk
I did nearly a whole chapter on the S6 and S6B powered by the Rolls-Royce R type. While researching this I was let loose through some of the Supermarine archive. Something I heard, which I would love someone to substatiate is this; it is impossible to build a flying scale model of a Spitfire. This is because the full size aircraft is the smallest it can be, given that the wing size is the minimum to create the required lift etc. There fore any scale model will be wrong, because the wings will have to be oversized. I sort of doubt this as K5054 was smaller than the production craft, but it's an interesting idea. Anyone know?


Others altready replied, but I'd like to add that the Spitfire wing was nothing small.
The plane had quite a low wing loading, much lower, for example, than that of his archrival BF 109.

#24 Terry Walker

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 09:24

On a minor note, at least one small part of the Spitfire heritage survives: when R-R developed their 6.23 litre V8 in the 1950s, they used their experience with the wet-sleeve V12 Merlin engine to make the seals for the wet sleeve motor car V8.

This extraordinary V8 is due to finish production in 2008, I'm told. 1959 - 2008 is a long production run.

#25 Rob29

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 11:21

Great 2 page article in this mornings Daily Express on Spitfire test pilot Alex Henshaw. He actually flew a Spit yesterday age 93!

#26 James Page

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 12:03

Maybe someone here can clear something up for me:

After the first test flight, Mutt Summers famously climbed out and said, "don't change a thing". I've heard this variously explained as being because it was perfect, or because it was a disappointment and he wanted to try it again later under the same conditions just to be sure.

Anyone know which it was?

#27 Macca

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 12:27

Mutt Summers just meant that nothing needed changing before another test-flight..........very unusual in a new-technology aeroplane.

Paul M

#28 Eric McLoughlin

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 17:16

In fact, quite a few changes were made before production began -

exhaust stubs were changed to ejector type (for added thrust)
rudder shape changed slightly to make it less sensitive
tailskid replaced by tailwheel
wheel covers removed from undercarriage

Once they entered service in 1938, further changes took place -

the cockpit canopy was improved by fitting a "blown" sliding hood
the fixed pitch two blade Watts propellor was replaced by a Rotol or De Havilland variable pitch three bladed prop

And that was before the second production version (the MkII) had even flown.

#29 petefenelon

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Posted 06 March 2006 - 18:15

At this point I must recommend Peter Pugh's three-volume history of Rolls Royce, The Magic Of A Name. Vol. 1 in particular contains most of the stuff TNFers would be interested in - Henry Royce, the early cars, the piston aero engines...

The other two volumes are mostly about jets, with some mention of cars, and are still interesting (to me, at least, because I did some collaborative work with RR and RR&A people in the 90s and some of the old ethos of the company still seems to survive).

Best of all you could pick the set up for £30 last year... but it seems to have disappeared :(

#30 bradbury west

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Posted 30 August 2006 - 17:16

Thought this might be of interest.

http://www.telegraph.../29/cnfly29.xml

RL

#31 Rosemayer

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Posted 30 August 2006 - 20:41

Not perfect but close



www.rchobby.co.uk/rc_model_spitfire_rtf.html

#32 bradbury west

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 12:11

I thought I would mark the passing of Alex Henshaw.

http://www.telegraph...2/28/db2801.xml

Respectfully

Roger Lund.

#33 Eric McLoughlin

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 17:47

Sad to see. Not yet flagged up on the aviation sites I frequent.

A long life and obviously contributed hugely to ultimate victory in WW2 - even he didn't realise it at the time.

#34 fester82

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 19:09

This is because the full size aircraft is the smallest it can be, given that the wing size is the minimum to create the required lift etc. There fore any scale model will be wrong, because the wings will have to be oversized.



Is absolute hogwash. Lift=CsubL1/2rhoVsquared. To generate greater lift, one can design a wing with a greater Coefficient of Lift, denser air (lower temp/sea level), or increase the velocity. Velocity is the easiest and makes the greatest change since it is squared. In the Spitfires case, later models had cliped wings for greater speed - which was a trade off of form vs. induced drag. Takeoff and landing speeds were greater than the earlier models to compensate due to greater weight and smaller wings. A truly splendid, claasic aircraft design.

#35 Rosemayer

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 19:36

For those with cash to spare.Buying my Lotto ticket today

www.supermarineaircraft.com

#36 Rosemayer

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 21:07

www.answers.com/topic/supermarine-spitfire

#37 Gary C

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 21:33

One of THE best books I have ever read on WWII is Alex Henshaw's 'Sigh For A Merlin', I literally couldn't put it down! Highly recommended. In fact, it just might be the time for a re-read.

#38 RTH

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 11:23

Put your sound on



#39 bradbury west

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 23:02

For sale
http://www.dailymail...tfire-1-5m.html
Roger Lund

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#40 Gary Davies

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 01:07

Thank you Roger. Must say, £1.5m-ish seems quite reasonable. I also enjoyed the little video but the louder and louder music somehow reminded me of the Monty Python cheese shop sketch.

#41 Tom Glowacki

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 01:30

The three most beautiful English creations of the Twentieth Century are the Spitfire, the Series 1 XK-E, and Diana Rigg, but not necessarily in that order.

#42 TrackDog

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 01:47

Originally posted by Tom Glowacki
The three most beautiful English creations of the Twentieth Century are the Spitfire, the Series 1 XK-E, and Diana Rigg, but not necessarily in that order.


I agree...here in the 'states, there was a Triumph Spitfire ad campaign that had a tagline, "You never forget your first Spitfire." There were both print and TV ads, and both featured Spits and Spitfires. I believe Ginger Lacey was featured as the pilot, and he was an ace in the Battle of Britain. Does anyone else remember these ads, and Ginger?


Dan

#43 Paul Rochdale

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 07:08

There's a really good book called SUPERMARINE SPITFIRE in the format of a Haynes workshop manual (ISBN 978 1 84425 462 0) at £17.99. It not only tells the history of the Spits and the differences between the numerous marks, but quite a bit concentrates on aircraft restoration.

#44 elansprint72

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 20:46

http://www.amazon.co...n/dp/0946219486

This is the only book you will ever need- details on every Spitfire made, that is each single aircraft, not each type. Runs to 634 pages and you need to get to page 75 before you leave the Type 300 prototypes behind!

All the info on the many different types of wings from elipse, clipped, folding through to laminar flow, with all the variants in between. All the engines too, including the diesels! Hundreds of photos and cut-away tech drawings, rigging diagrams, etc. It is the DEFINITIVE book.

#45 bradbury west

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 20:57

I am not familiar with this one, but I recall it was well reviewed on publication
http://www.telegraph...-a-machine.html
Roger Lund

#46 onelung

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 23:00

Originally posted by elansprint72
http://www.amazon.co...n/dp/0946219486
...... All the engines too, including the diesels!


Could we enlarge just a little on the diesel aspect, please? This is something of which I was completely unaware. :confused:

#47 giffo

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 23:19

In 2000 during my honeymoon from Aust to UK my wife & I visited the Cosford RAF base museum. I'm not an aircraft buff but 8hrs there wasn't enough & I highly recomend it. On the way in we were fortunate to meet a Lancaster tail gunner from WW2. As we we chatting I mentioned that back in Aust my brother was restoring a P51D Mustang for a client. This sparked a big interest in this chap, his stories were incredible and he then took my wife & I on a personal tour around the main hanger. We both got to go into the roped off areas & climbed up & had a good look inside the Lancaster bomber that was there but the highlight was being able to sit in the cockpit of the Spitfire on display. Words don't really describe it & what those who flew them must have endured.

Below is a link to Panama Jacks. This is the company my brother was a partner with 10 years ago before he went out on his own. It is a very interesting place in itself.
http://www.panamajacks.com.au/
There's a few cars in on the site as well.

#48 elansprint72

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Posted 10 April 2009 - 10:16

Originally posted by onelung


Could we enlarge just a little on the diesel aspect, please? This is something of which I was completely unaware. :confused:


Geoff, sent you a PM, sorry, I missed your post here. According to the book P7674 was fitted with an experimental 2-stroke diesel I'm sure there is at least one other reference to a diesel but whilst this is an excellent book; the index is below par and 600-odd pages of tiny print takes some going through.
:eek:
If I find the other ref I'll give you a shout.

Here's an off-topic but Merlin-connected shot from the mid 70s showing a Lancaster returning to where it was built at Woodford (I live on the final approach about 2 miles out); the commentator at the show said "if you happen to have an upper-mid turret hanging around, give them a call", guess what, someone had and it was later fitted!
Note the Handley-Page Victors being converted into tankers at the bottom of the shot; the boys at Avro loved that, rivals H-P having gone bust!


Posted Image

#49 elansprint72

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Posted 10 April 2009 - 10:22

Originally posted by giffo
In 2000 during my honeymoon from Aust to UK my wife & I visited the Cosford RAF base museum. I'm not an aircraft buff but 8hrs there wasn't enough & I highly recomend it. On the way in we were fortunate to meet a Lancaster tail gunner from WW2. As we we chatting I mentioned that back in Aust my brother was restoring a P51D Mustang for a client. This sparked a big interest in this chap, his stories were incredible and he then took my wife & I on a personal tour around the main hanger. We both got to go into the roped off areas & climbed up & had a good look inside the Lancaster bomber that was there but the highlight was being able to sit in the cockpit of the Spitfire on display. Words don't really describe it & what those who flew them must have endured.


Giffo- when my son was about 8 we went to Cosford and must have met the same chap; it was mid-week and nobody was around so he gave us the personal tour too, he insisted that Rick should get into all sorts of cockpits, he still talks about that day. I reckon it was 2001 when we were there.
A remarkable and very brave Gentleman; I could not believe how tiny the rear turret was.

#50 Stephen W

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Posted 10 April 2009 - 10:28

Originally posted by elansprint72
A remarkable and very brave Gentleman; I could not believe how tiny the rear turret was.


Rear gunners were selected by height; a friend of the family was a rear gunner and he was barely 5' 4" - he still had the axe issued to gunners so they could chop through the persplex 'bubble' to get out in an emergency.

:wave: